Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Then and Now.

Five years ago, I dove headfirst into the ultra world and tackled my first 12-hour run at the 2007 Ultracentric event.  My three and a half months old son, Ezra, braved the cold to send me off on a 53 mile venture.
Last month, I made my way back to Grapevine for the 2012 Ultracentric.  Recovering from an Achilles injury that had me sidelined for almost four months, I would only go for 6 hours with a plan to stop once I hit the marathon distance.  This year, my eight month old daughter, Annie, helped get me going, along with Ezra, now five years old.
Good times, amigos.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two children certainly up the ante.  We've gone from the double-team to man-on-man defense.  And the kids are winning. 

Alas.

Running is in full swing.  I knocked back 13.5 miles last Thursday and felt suprisingly jaunty throughout the scramble.  This weekend I tackle the overly ambitious 6-hour Ultracentric Experience. 

Moderation is for wimps.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ultracentric thinking.


Welcome back, long run.

Eight miles of bliss last Saturday will be followed by ten miles, then mas, mas, mas, but slow, slow, slow.  That's okay; I'm running.  And the weather is perfect.  And it feels so, so GOOD.

In a rash of post-ramble euphoria, I signed up for the six-hour Ultracentric event in three weeks.  A bit over eager, perhaps?  Maybe.  But the plan is to take it easy, walk liberally, and just enjoy several hours of solid, forward motion.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PRO-lotherapy

Holy pain-free Achilles, Batman; prolotherapy is the SH*T!

Three treatments, and I am running like I stole something.  (Albeit, something very heavy, which causes me to run very slowly.) 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Booray!

It's been a very strange two months.

First, no running.  Really.  None.  The MRI revealed some serious tendinitis in the Achilles.  My primary care physician prescribed rest and anti-inflammatories.

Second, my primary care physician's prescription did absolutely nothing.  The pain persisted with zero improvement after a month.

Third, I started talking with my endurance buddies about alternative treatments.  On the recommendation of several athletes, I ventured to a pain and sports medicine specialist who practices prolotherapy.  Never heard of prolotherapy?  Me either.  Here's the skinny:
In prolotherapy, a syringe is used to inject a liquid—often containing sugar but which can include a variety of other substances—into the painful area. The idea is, paradoxically, to create a minor injury to stimulate a healing response. Some doctors scoff at prolotherapy and many insurers won't cover it. But the procedure is being performed by a growing number of physicians, and has even gained adherents at institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.
 

I've had two treatments over the past 3 weeks.  And it works.  Maybe it's a placebo effect, but I finally have relief.  I was able to jog 3 pain-free miles last weekend.  (I hate the word, "jog." But I can't really describe my slow-as-molasses shuffle as anything more than that. Certainly not "running.") It's going to be a slow climb back to where I was, but it was joyous just to be able to move again. 

Fourth, "soft in the middle" does not begin to describe how I've felt the past couple of months without running.  Sure, I've lifted weights and put in my time on the stationary bike, but it's not the same.

Fifth, not running makes me a bit irritable.

Sixth, Annie is a happy, smiling, six-month old joy.  Seriously.  Look at her.
Seventh, Ezra is a rambunctious, dirty, all-boy five year old.  We are having fun doing all things guy.  Like going to college football games.
Keep trucking, amigos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Achilles, Achilles, Achilles.

I'm 99% positive it is tendonitis with some micro tears.  I'm in the process of scheduling an MRI to confirm my suspicion. 

Damn.

In the meantime, it's heat therapy, massages with The Stick, and cross-training.  Meh.

I really miss this.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

So far, so good.

Warm up, stretch, ease into it.  All well.  All good.

I made it to the gym at lunch yesterday, laced up the Pearl iZumi's, and sauntered onto the dread-mill.  Nothing huge, just half mile jaunts in between weight-lifting reps.  I logged 3 miles.  A little stiff, but no pain during the run.  And more importantly, no pain afterwards.  Could two and half weeks of rest have done the trick?  We shall see.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I quit.


I gave it a try.  I really did.  I sat on the sidelines for nearly three weeks.  No running.  No biking.  Nada.  I lifted weights, but no lower body work.  I stayed stoic and immovable. 

And it really pissed me off.

I got cranky.  I got sluggish.  I got, um, huskier. 

So screw it. 

I quit. 

I quit quitting. 

Resting my achilles may or may not have helped, but it definitely hurt my psyche and my well-being.  I'm addicted.  I need to exercise.  I need to move.

I'm getting back in the game.  Wish me luck.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ouch.


Last Friday, I did a pretty pedestrian three and a half mile hill workout.  Nothing too fast, just some rollers.  All good, right?

Nope.  Woke up Saturday with my left Achilles tendon achy, tight, and sore to the touch.  What the hell?

I did my stretches, used The Stick, and tried to take it easy. 

It. Still. Hurt.

So yesterday, I went over to FWRunCo and picked up some compression calf sleeves.  I wore them all afternoon and decided to give them a try running this morning.

The run went great.  No pain, felt good.

But now, as I stand at my desk, it's... hmmm... no bueno.

Any advice out there?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gear up.

After running with the same Nathan back pack for nearly 5 years, I picked up a new Salomon hydration pack at Fort Worth Running Company this weekend.

If you're going to put in the miles, you might as well have the latest styles. (Zing!)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Inspiration.

You see some interesting stuff when you get up at 4:00 a.m. to run. City raccoons, the end of the night shift, the random chupacabra. You can never be certain what you will encounter while most of the world is sleeping.

Last night,er... morning, I had just started my 18 mile journey when I happened upon some college kids keeping the party alive in their driveway along University. I didn't think much of it, just kept moving down the road.

About 2 minutes later, I heard the plod, plod, plod of someone coming up behind me--FAST. Fight or flight kicks in, and because I'm a total honey badger, I clench my first, slow my pace slightly, and get ready to throw a mean haymaker.

"Dude... I am totally gonna f*cking run with you!"

Say what? I turn and see--no, make that smell--a twenty something frat boy who was at least a case of beer into his evening/nearly dawn.

"My friends said I was too drunk to run with you, so I was like, f*ck it, I'm gonna f*cking do it!"

The kid stayed with me for nearly a mile, talking nonstop the whole way. It was amusing and charming.

"This is SO bad ass!"

"What time is it? Like, 2 a.m?"

"I'm gonna get my masters when I graduate. I just don't know what program yet."

"Have you graduated or are you still in school?"

"I am SO drunk right now, dude!"

"Why are you carrying two water bottles?"

He made it to the Berry Street intersection before his friends pulled up in a suburban and hauled him back home, presumably to sleep it off. As they were pulling away, the kid left me with a little inspiration:

"Don't you f*cking quit!"

Gracias, amigo. Gracias.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Adversity.

“If I met success with every essay or with every run, well, it would become common and thus would lose its intensity. For that reason I say, bring on the failure. Bring on the defeat. Bring on the misery and the vast discomfort. I embrace it because it readies my psyche to celebrate, sometimes, in a way only those who willingly and gratefully endure these things can know.” -- Unknown
Watching the misery and triumph last weekend at El Scorcho Sin Lun6, the gravity of what is coming in February finally sunk in.  I haven't attempted to run 100 miles in two years.  The closest I've gotten is 50 miles--nothing to scoff at, but a universe away from the century mark. 

Lots of changes need to be made to get to the finish line. 

The toughest one is going to be diet.  Since getting in decent shape thirteen years ago, I've been able to pretty much eat whatever I want without much of an impact on my physique or performance.  Well, now that I am firmly in my mid-thirties (having turned 35 yesterday), I've come to grips with the inevitable onset of genetics and aging.  A decade ago, my twenty year old metabolism could handle damn near anything I threw at it.  Today, well, that extra slice of pizza tends to hang around my mid-section a bit more prevalently. 
As the adage goes, garbage in is garbage out.
I've been inspired by Nell, whose post-pregnancy discipline has been nothing short of amazing.  Despite having to sit across the dinner table and watch Ezra and me shovel all things carbohydrate down our gullets, she has maintained a positive attitude while sating herself on a steady stream of vegetables and lean protein.  Combined with early morning runs, yoga, weightlifting, and some insane Gillian Michaels DVD, she has shed the baby weight and added muscle and tone.
So I better get my shit together, lest I be left on the couch.  It won't be fun, at least not at first, but nothing worth doing comes easily. 
Training, on the other hand, will be much better.  I like to train.  I like my long runs, hitting the weights, crosstraining.  It's a bit harder to schedule with two kids and a lean, mean, ripped spouse, but we can make it work. 
Much rambling, but there it is.  See you on the trail, amigos.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Training Wheels.

Bandera is locked in. Just the 50 km distance because, hey, I'm a wuss. Or something like that. Really, it's about enjoying the experience and not trashing myself a month before Rocky.
Speaking of which, registration for that fun, soggy, mess-of-a-run opens on May 25th for the 100 mile. Foolish, foolish, foolish man that I am, I already booked a hotel within walking distance of Whataburger. (Taquitos are supreme ultra running breakfast fuel.) Come hell or high water (and probably both), I'll be out there running five 20 mile loops through Huntsville State Park next February.
So the training has officially begun in earnest. Here is the long run schedule, cobbled together through extensive analysis and expert planning (or not). Shorter runs, cycling, golf, weightlifting, and beer drinking (etc.) will be interspersed spontaneously and as appropriate.

05/19 - 12 miles
05/26 - 16 miles
06/01 - 18 miles

Rest/cross-train

06/23 - 14 miles

Vacation

07/07 - 14 miles

El Scorcho

07/21 - 18 miles
07/28 - 20 miles
08/04 - 16 miles
08/11 - 20 miles
08/18 - 22 miles

Rest/cross-train

09/01 - 22 miles
09/08 - 24 miles
09/15 - 16 miles
09/22 - 26 miles

Rest/cross-train

10/06 - 18 miles
10/13 - 26 miles
10/20 - 30 miles
10/27 - 20 miles

Rest/cross-train

11/10 - 24 miles
11/17 - 30 miles
11/24 - 32 miles
12/01 - 34 miles

Rest/cross-train

12/15 - 22 miles
12/22 - 24 miles
12/29 - 20 miles
01/05 - 12 miles

01/12 - Bandera

Rest/cross-train

02/02 - Rocky Raccoon

Monday, May 07, 2012

This is happening.

Deal with it.  Because it's redemption time.  Time to buck up and get the buckle.  The one I should've gotten back in 2009.  Bring on the miles.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love.

Violet Anne Valdez made her appearance on April 4, 2012 at 9:18 a.m. Life is good.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Rock On.

I was awakened early Saturday morning by the booming sounds of thunder. The rain was pelting the window as the lightning flashes brightened my hotel room through the black-out curtains. 

Rocky, you little bitch, it's nice to see you again.
I hadn't run in Huntsville since I DNF'd at mile 77 of the 2009 Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race.  For whatever reason, I got inspired to give it another go, but this time at the more reasonable 50 mile distance.

I arrived at the race site to learn that there were no parking spaces even remotely near the starting line.  So I parked a mile down the road and hoofed it in the rain, arriving about 10 minutes after the 50 milers had headed out.  Late again... ah well. 

The trail was about what I expected--wet, muddy, slimy, and rooty. I've run the course several times, but not under these conditions. No complaints, just a bit slower than anticipated.
The rain continued off and on throughout the morning, then--for a brief, shining moment--the sun came out and smiled upon us foolish souls silly enough to choose to slosh about all day (and all night, for some) through the wilderness.
I was feeling pretty good after two loops (33 1/3 miles).  Even had the energy to snap a self-portrait just before heading out for the final 16 2/3 miles. 
I don't have an official finish time yet, but I think it will be around 11 hours and 35 minutes.  Take off the 10 minutes it took me to get to the start after the gun went off, and I'm guessing I was moving for about 11 hours and 25 minutes. 

I felt good the whole race, never had any bad moments or injuries, and am just a little stiff today.  I feel much better than I did after Bandera (when my quads were sore to the touch for nearly 5 days).

All in all, a successful, enjoyable romp.

Oh, and take a look at my shoes, socks, and gaiters after the run.  I tried to hose them off as best I could in the hotel bathtub. 

Just a wee bit of mud.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Start me up.

Bandera is not a bad way to lead off the 2012 race season.  Starting more than forty minutes after the official beginning of the race (we were running late), my actual finish time was 6 hours, 48 minutes, 55 seconds.  Other than some residual soreness and a couple silver dollar blisters on the inside of both heels, I feel pretty good.
Next up... 50 miles in Huntsville.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New beginnings.

New daughter.
New parents.
New big brother.
New running goals.
New work challenges.
New strengths.
New faults.

2012 begins not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a slow, deep inhalation of all that is to come.  Vaya con Dios.

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